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File photo. Peter Byrne
Health Service

INMO seeks emergency meeting with HSE to tackle 'hazardous' hospital overcrowding

The union said that some hospitals are approaching pre-pandemic levels of overcrowding.

THE IRISH NURSES and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has written to the HSE, calling for a meeting with the Health Executive’s Emergency Department (ED) Taskforce over unsafe levels of hospital overcrowding. 

The INMO said that the number of admitted patients waiting for beds has continued to increase, despite the continued risk of Covid-19 transmissions. The union added that some hospitals are also approaching pre-pandemic levels of overcrowding.

INMO president and emergency department nurse Karen McGowan said the situation in hospitals is “very unsafe”.

Over 22,000 patients have been treated on trolleys so far in 2021. A total of 2,800 have been treated on trolleys so far this month, almost double what it was this time last year.

The trolley figures for last month were triple what they were in May of 2020.

The organisation noted the risks to the health and safety of its members caused by the current pressure on emergency services. It called on the HSE to develop a “viable plan” for safe staffing.

“It is not acceptable for the HSE to rely on the goodwill and professionalism of nurses rather than develop a viable plan for safe staffing,” McGowan said.

“Frontline workers have given 100% throughout the pandemic, and if conditions don’t improve it will be very difficult to retain nurses and midwives in the health service over the coming years,” McGowan added.

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